Background and Objectives

SysMind Facts

The ERASMUS+ project SysMind started in November 2021 and will last until August 2024. Seven partners from six countries are working together for finding tools and methods to support teachers and trainers in vocational training to enable the development of sustainable mind-sets of their learners. one specific approach of the SysMind project is the consideration of cultural and spiritual backgrounds.

Project objectives


  • building knowledge 
  • integrate modern e-learning concepts
  • further development of existing concepts of education for sustainable development in combination with tools from diversity research
  • empower teachers to make young people fit for the international labour market in the field of life sciences 

Supporting teachers and trainers

The aim of the project is to help teachers and trainers in vocational training by giving them support and ideas of how to find a common and appreciative way with their diverse learning groups for understanding and acting towards sustainability. Learners come from different cultural/ spiritual/ philosophical backgrounds and are also massively influenced by their personal experiences. Different approaches and values can be the reason why scientifically verifiable facts like e.g. climate change are neither understood nor accepted by some people. 


Conscious handling of diversity...

In order to address all learners best it is necessary that teachers/trainers are capable to manage biases and diversity within learning groups in a positive and constructive manner. The SysMind project starts with helping teaching persons to get aware of their own mind-set and how it has formed. This helps to deal with individual approaches of learners and to identify ways for initiating self-reflection and awareness within the group. The choice of suitable didactic tools for sustainability to bring them closer to sustainability needs to consider existent different spiritual and cultural backgrounds. This will increase the acceptance and “digestibility” of learning contents. enable more sustainable mindset

So the SysMind project does not only focus on “how to teach sustainability issues best?” but especially includes the spiritual, religious and cultural spheres as well, because we as humans do not only take decisions due to pure facts. 

The main result of the SysMind Project is a massive open online course (MOOC), a digital training tool that will be accessible for all interested persons on an international level. 

Project Partners

The following institutions are cooperating together within the SysMind project...

University College for Agrarian and Environmental Pedagogy

The University College for Agrarian and Environmental Pedagogy Vienna (UCAEP) is a science and pedagogic center for the education of teachers and consultants in the professional fields of agriculture and forestry as well as environmental education. In addition to Bachelor's and Master's degree programmes, a wide range of continuing education programmes and occupation-specific research are offered.
Both the rural and the urban Austrian economic area will be influenced more and more by structural, ecological and social change in the future. Well-trained people and the opportunity of further education in the development of new rural occupations are central elements of a sustainable development.
About 800 students study at UCAEP and the university employs about 90 persons. The University College for Agrarian and Environmental Pedagogy enables an occupational education based on scientific knowledge. 

Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies

Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies (LLU) is a higher education and science establishment of the Republic of Latvia, where scientific research as well as academic and professional study programs are carried out.
As one of the leading universities for science in the Baltic region, LLU specializes in the fields of agriculture, forestry, and food technology, however you can find equally dedicated facilities and passionate lecturers in IT, economics and social development, veterinary medicine and other programs. More than 90% of LLU undergraduate students find employment during their first or second year after graduating – the highest figure among the Latvian higher education institutions. The main goal of the University is to create intellectual potential for providing sustainable development of Latvia and its countryside in particular while becoming and up-to date, internationally recognized and prestigious university, which actively integrates into the united European space of higher education and science.

Uluslararasi Tarimsal Egitim Merkezi Mudurlugu

The Directorate of International Agricultural Training Center, located in Ankara, is one the few continuous vocational training centers, affiliated with Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in Turkey. The scope of the work defined by the governing regulation of the Directorate, abbreviated as “UTEM”, is determined as the effective use of natural resources at national and international level, improvement of plant and animal production, increasing the effectiveness of agricultural and rural holdings, extending information technologies over agricultural sector, institutional development and better human resource management. Within the perspective of this defined sphere of activity, UTEM's work scope is geographically divided into two categories as National and International. 


As mentioned above, Training Center is responsible for organizing international training and cooperation activities. These tasks primarily include carrying out training activities within the framework of mutual cooperation with national and international organizations on concerned domains and development of joint projects to ensure transfer of experiences and technologies. Structuring technical research and examination, conducting impact assessment and organizing events at international level are among other embraced activities. The Directorate, obtaining almost all of its financing needs from public sources, has the status of “non-profit public body” according to international definitions made in this manner. 

Fundacion Monte Mediterráneo

The issue which, in 1992 Rio de Janeiro as “sustainable development” was discussed, was to
have  practical  applications  in  Andalusia.  This  new  venture  of  combining  sustainable
development  practices  with  the  ecological  development  of  a  landscape,  the  Dehesa,  had
started!  The  original  founders  and  other   interested  parties  contributed  funds  to  the
foundation which were used to purchase the ranch, barn, outbuildings, and agricultural lands and to establish the  necessary  infrastructure. As a result,  the  operation  would  be  able to support itself. The philosophy behind the methods of operation of the Dehesa ecosystem – the last barrier to the desert -  is “sustainability” which means that traditional methods were to be used to generate profits from farming, raising of livestock and forestry. At the same time, those methods are designed and used to maintain and heighten the production quotas to  make  the  best  use  of  the  potential  of  the  resources  available.  Besides  the  agro-eco activities,  the  Foundation  does  intense  awareness  raising,  educational  and  training  work, research,  realizes  rural  development  as  well as  international  projects and  markets  its  own products. The foundation was entered into the public domain via the BOJA, no 40 on March 26, 1994. It is registered under the number HU 521 [before A 26/S.E.15] in the state register of Andalusia. 

Ukrainian National Forestry University

The Ukrainian National Forestry University (UNFU) is a largest forestry educational and research centre in Ukraine (founded in 1874). It is the only University in Ukraine which trains professionals for the whole forest sector and beyond. At the same time it is focused on comprehensive research of forest landscape and environment, forestry and wood industry development. There are four institutes at the university: Institute of Ecological Economics and Management (IEEM); Institute of Woodworking and Computer Technologies and Design; Institute of Forestry and Park-and Garden Management and Institute of Mechanical Engineering, Automation and Digital Technologies, as well as Center for Distance Learning and Postgraduate Education and departments for social-humanitarian disciplines. The study programmes have been developed at Bachelor, Master and PhD (some of them)  degree levels in Forestry, Park-and-Garden Management, Ecology, Landscape Architecture, Woodworking Technologies, Chemical Technologies in Wood Processing, Technologies for Environmental Protection, Computer Science, Design, Engineering Mechanics, Timber Harvesting, Automation and Computer-Integrated Technologies, Economics, Management, Accounting and Taxation. University developed concept of the greening of education which was supported and recommended for implementation at national level for training professionals in sustainable development by the Board of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine. The UNFU is recognized as the most sustainable university in Ukraine and 223rd in the world in 2021 by the UI GreenMetric World University Rankings.

Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje

The Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje (UKIM) is a public higher educational institution and the first state university in North Macedonia. UKIM is comprised of 23 faculties, 5 research institutes and 4 public scientific institutions. UKIM offers high-standard teaching and research in all scientific fields – natural sciences and mathematics, technical and technological sciences, medical sciences and health, biotechnology sciences, social sciences, humanities and arts. 
Nowadays, over 60.000 domestic and foreign students are following the first, second and third cycle studies. Every year there are more than 10.000 students who are enrolled in all three cycles. The Faculty of Philosophy in Skopje (engaged in this project) is the oldest higher education institution in North Macedonia. The first standardized studies at the Faculty of Philosophy were initiated in 1920, which marked the beginning of the university education in the country. The Faculty of Philosophy in Skopje consists of 12 departments, from humanities and social science disciplines, including Philosophy, Pedagogy, History, History of Art and Archaeology, Classical studies, Psychology, Sociology, Social Work and Social Policy, Security Defense and Peace, Special Education and Rehabilitation, Gender Studies, and Family Studies. Also, there are 11 research centres within the Faculty of Philosophy, among which: Balkan Peace Studies Center, Center for Inter-cultural Studies and Research, Center for Lifelong learning, etc. The Faculty of Philosophy in Skopje also holds the UNESCO Chair in Inter-cultural Studies and Research, which was established in 2014. The Chair is a member of the UNiTWIN network of UNESCO Chairs on inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue. 

Kirchliche Pädagogische Hochschule Wien/Krems

The Kirchliche Pädagogische Hochschule Wien/Krems (KPH) is the largest private university college of education in Austria. It has seven locations in Vienna and Lower Austria. Seven Christian churches cooperate together: Catholic Church, Evangelical Church A. and H.B., Greek-Oriental Church, three Oriental-Orthodox Churches and Old Catholic Church. The respective identities are preserved in the training. Within the framework of religious teacher training and the promotion of interreligious competences, the KPH cooperates with the Free Churches, the Islamic Religious Community, the Alevi Religious Community, the Israelite Religious Society and the Buddhist Religious Society. The teaching offer of the KPH Vienna/Krems consists of the teacher training programmes for primary and secondary general education, the Bachelor's programme in elementary education and cooperations in the field of religious education. In addition, there is a further and continuing education programme, with university courses (up to the master's degree), further education events and support in school development processes. The KPH Wien/Krems currently has about 2,500 students in initial education and about 1,000 students in continuing education courses and 40,000 students in continuing education.

Forschung | Moderation | Kooperation | Elke Szalai

Elke Szalai is a landscape planner and knowledge manager. After her studies at the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, she founded a company. She has been an entrepreneur since 2004 and a lecturer at various universities, universities of applied sciences and teacher training colleges since 2008. Since 2018, in addition to her self-employment, she has been a research assistant at the University of Applied Sciences Burgenland and a university lecturer.
She holds a Managing Diversity Certificate and a Master in Knowledge Management.
Her research and educational topics are sustainable development, technology and society, gender and e-learning. Regional and landscape planning, especially as a workshop leader and project developer for LEADER regions in Austria.
She has been working internationally since 2015 on behalf of OEAD in Albania, Kosovo and Northern Macedonia on school development, school quality in vocational schools with a focus on girls and gender equality issues.
She has two sons and is passionate about Ashtanga Yoga.


Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.